If your business is facing a winding up petition you need to act fast. The team at Inquesta can guide you through the best course of action for your circumstances.

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What is a Winding Up Petition?

A winding petition is a last resort for creditors attempting to recoup sums of money owed to them. It is a legal notice obtained from the courts that requires that the debtor’s business be closed down, or ‘wound up’, with money recouped via the sale of assets being used to repay company debt.

Winding up petitions are a serious step for a creditor to undertake, and often come as a result of them feeling that there are no more options available to them to get their money back; perhaps as a result of the debtor failing to adhere to agreements, or not answering correspondence.

The impact of a winding up petition can be more significant than just a hit to the indebted company’s bank account. Once actioned, the petition is advertised in the Gazette, meaning all the firm’s creditors could find out that it is in financial trouble. The same is true for their bank, who will usually freeze their accounts as soon as they get wind of the situation. It may also cause suppliers and customers to stop dealing with the business.

In order for an application for a winding up petition to be considered, the debt must be more than £750, and have been outstanding for over 21 days. Anything less than that will lead to an application being summarily rejected.

If the order is made, the creditor can look to appoint an insolvency practitioner to act on their behalf to retrieve the money owed. In the eyes of the courts, this is not considered as a method of debt recovery. Instead, it is seen as a sign that the company cannot pay its debt, and is the beginning of the process of winding it up.

Should a winding up petition not be dealt with by the debtor in the allotted time, or the money not be paid back in full, it is likely that the winding up petition could be made into a winding up order — a more serious notice that leads to compulsory liquidation shortly after.

What to Do if You Have Received a Winding up Petition from Your Creditors

The most important thing you must do if you have received a winding up petition is to act quickly, act efficiently, and act intelligently. You cannot simply ignore a winding up petition in the hope that the situation will de-escalate and go away. You must meet it head on to stop it seriously impacting the future of your business.

Receiving a winding up petition is a difficult time in the life of any business. With the future of the company in the balance and the possibility of liquidation looming, tensions are likely to be high. Despite this, you will only have a limited time to act before things get even worse.

Once the petition is issued, you have seven days before the petition is served and made public in the London Gazette. It is possible to avoid this happening, but to do so you must act with good intention.

How Insolvency Practitioners Help with the Winding Up Petition Procedure

When a winding up petition has been issued against you, it is important that you approach an insolvency practitioner who can assess the situation and devise the optimal method of saving your business, and repaying company debts. This may include;

  • Assessing your firm’s finances to uncover the best course of action.
  • Exploring the best way to repay company debts
  • Disputing the winding up petition

When a winding up petition has been issued, it is vital that you heed any advice your insolvency practitioner gives you to avoid any potential personal liability down the road.

Your insolvency practitioner will guide you throughout the process and provide you with all of the best options for you and your business.

Download Our Fact Sheet

Are you the director of a company? No matter how successful and secure you may feel now, it’s vital to carefully consider and assess your position when it comes to minimising the threat of potential future personal liability to company debts.

Make sure that your position and financial future are secure against any eventuality. To help, Inquesta has produced a handy fact sheet concerning avoiding director exposure.

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How to Stop a Winding Up Petition

Being served with a winding up petition is a serious issue that can have a lasting impact on your business. It is important that you know what can be done to put a stop to it; from communicating with creditors and paying up front, to disputing the debt and business restructuring, there are several options open to you.

How Inquesta Can Help with Defending a Winding Up Petition

If your business is facing serious financial difficulties and you are issued a winding up petition, it is important that you get in touch right away.

At Inquesta, our winding up petition experts can explain the entire process to you from start to finish to ensure clarity and ease any stress.

We work with the ethos that our clients’ best interest should always be at the forefront of everything we do — and that shows in how we converse, deal with, and act to support them.

With over 20 years of combined experience, assisting companies from all manner of positions and industries to get through the process of defending a winding up petition, you can be assured that you and your business are in the best possible hands.

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Our Specialist Team

Meet the dedicated team of insolvency practitioners at Inquesta who are trained to assist and defend you through the winding up petition process.


Steven Wiseglass

Director of Insolvency

A co-founder of Inquesta, Steven is a licensed Insolvency Practitioner with over a decade of experience in the field. He is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association, Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3), and his insolvency licence is issued by the Insolvency Practitioners Association. In addition, he sits on the R3 committee of the North West Regional Committee.

Steven specialises in advising directors of small to medium-sized businesses, and has a wealth of expertise in providing the most appropriate advice whatever the firm’s circumstances may be. He has also been instrumental in helping company directors save their business and rebuild them into successful enterprises.



A creditor is able to apply to the court to ‘wind up’ a company that is not able to repay its debt. The application is referred to as a winding up petition. For it to go through, the creditor must be able to unequivocally prove that they are owed £750 or more and that the debtor is unable to pay.
A winding up petition can be issued by any creditor that is owed money. It is also possible for multiple creditors to petition for a winding up petition against one individual/business if they can prove that they all have an equally valid claim for repayment.

If an indebted business is able to pay off what it owes, a winding up petition can be withdrawn by the creditor. Withdrawal prevents another creditor from taking over the petition and further safeguards the future of the debtor’s business.

To withdraw a winding up petition there are a few steps you must undergo:

  • Official written permission from the creditor must be received.
  • An application must be made to the court for the withdrawal of the petition. The application can be no later than five days before the petition hearing, and the petition cannot have been advertised.
  • Once the withdrawal of the petition has been approved, you must send an official letter to the court to signify this withdrawal. A copy of the letter must also be sent to all relevant parties.

A winding up petition must be issued at the registered office of the debtor and given to the company director or a confirmed employee. If nobody can/will accept the petition, it can be served by depositing it at the location (on the reception desk, in a letterbox etc.), or issued to the company director at another location.

A winding up petition can be disputed and dismissed by the court if the judge views the debtor as being able to repay their debt via a CVA or an informal agreement with the creditor. It is also possible to dispute a winding up petition for other reasons, such as:

  • Incorrect attribution of debt
  • Exaggerated figures
  • Petition process followed incorrectly

Being issued a winding up petition is one of the most serious threats you and your business could possibly face. It is the first warning sign that your company could be in major financial difficulty. If you do not adhere to the petition, and what the court demands, your firm could be liquidated.

Also in Company Insolvency & Recovery


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